The widely shared perception is that class action plaintiffs’ lawyers claim undeserved credit for positive outcomes in deal litigation, and that lead plaintiffs are irrelevant figureheads who exercise no influence over litigation outcomes. This view persists despite substantial efforts made by Delaware courts to sort for high-quality lead plaintiffs and lead counsel, and by institutional investors to screen for law-firm quality in opting for portfolio monitoring services. Do these judicial and investor efforts to screen for class-action leadership quality matter? Recent empirical scholarship suggests that they do. Top law firms and public pension fund lead plaintiffs correlate with better outcomes for investors, greater attorney effort, and lower attorney fees. In the most conflict-ridden transactions, markets react positively to the filing of suits by top firms, and negatively to suits filed by poor-quality firms alone. This evidence suggests that the deep skepticism towards lead counsel and lead plaintiff selection criteria may be misplaced.
Edited by Sean Griffith, Jessica Erickson, David H. Webber and Verity Winship
Shareholder litigation—primarily representative litigation on behalf of all stockholders of a corporation—has proliferated globally. Shareholder litigation has long been part of the corporate landscape in the United States, where shareholders can challenge nearly any corporate decision. The scope of shareholder suits, however, has been kept largely in check by a set of substantive and procedural rules. But in recent years these suits have proliferated as shareholders have taken advantage of innovative tactics and new doctrines. Moreover, shareholder litigation has begun to spread to jurisdictions other than the US, where it has taken on new forms. This research handbook provides a modernday survey of the state of shareholder litigation and offers empirical evidence of how these suits have developed. Its chapters provide indepth analyses of the forms of shareholder litigation, including securities class actions, merger litigation, derivative suits, and appraisal litigation. Through its examination of these different types of litigation, the book details some of the advantages and disadvantages of shareholder litigation. It explores such issues as the agency costs inherent in representative litigation, the challenges of multijurisdictional litigation and disclosureonly settlements, and the rise of institutional investors. It also surveys how related issues are addressed across the globe, with examinations of shareholder litigation in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Israel, and China.